U2's Manager Says No Business Models Work... But Kicking People Off The Internet Will?

from the confusion dept

A bunch of folks have been sending in the opinion piece in the Guardian written by U2's manager Paul McGuinness expressing strong support for France's approval of a three strikes law (ignoring, conveniently, that the law was passed using trickery, telling everyone the vote would happen at a later date, waiting to most elected officials had left, and then passing the law with a vote when only a few people were still around). This isn't a huge surprise, because McGuinness has gone around (loudly) blaming everyone else for the problems in the recording industry (while reaping the rewards of the more than $300 million that U2 brings in per year). So, it's no surprise that he's in favor of laws that puts the onus on others to somehow fix the business model problems he's unwilling to fix. But some of his comments deserve a response:
There are a few simple reasons why the new law deserves strong support. First, the crisis in our music community is real. A generation of artists, all over France, and further afield, are seeing their livelihoods destroyed, their career ambitions stolen. Investment that should help them build careers is draining out of the industry. This isn't just a shift in the business model from recorded to live music. It's a catastrophe for all the business models, old and new. It is a myth that artists can build long-term careers on live music alone....

There are clearly people who oppose the new law, but I have not heard of any viable economic alternative to the system now being introduced, committing ISPs to helping protect copyright. The only other proposals offered look like solutions produced for the laboratory, not for the market place.
That's odd. For someone who claims he's "followed this debate closely" for him to claim that this is a catastrophe for all business models. After all, every single other business related to music has been doing amazingly well. And, we've gone through example after example after example after example of it working in "the marketplace" rather than "the laboratory." And we've discussed how it works for bands small, mid-sized and large -- and works in ways that has allowed them to make more money than they could have in the past. So, for him to claim that those business models don't exist or don't work is simply wrong. Furthermore, he pulls a sleight of hand by pretending that the only other business model is "live music." However, as we've seen live music is one business model that works, but not the only one.

But the key thing, is that McGuinness is confusing protection with a business model. He talks about all the problems with business models, and then seems to jump to the conclusion that kicking people off the internet will suddenly make people buy music again -- as if he can suddenly turn back the clock. Kicking people off the internet doesn't make them feel better about your product. It doesn't make people more comfortable giving money to the recording industry -- it makes them pissed off and eager to spend their money elsewhere.

It's the exact opposite of a business model. It's a "piss your customers off" model.

Meanwhile, the business models that work (the same ones McGuinness is apparently ignorant of) are all about the opposite: they're about appealing to your customers, connecting with them, building up a relationship and trust. McGuinness, instead, prefers to treat them all as criminals. He shouldn't be surprised when they respond with anger rather than money.


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    Ima Fish, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 11:27am

    And the award for the most hyperbolic opinion piece ever goes to Paul McGuinness for his statement:

    "A generation of artists, all over France, and further afield, are seeing their livelihoods destroyed, their career ambitions stolen."

    We're not merely stealing their music, we're not merely stealing their livelihoods, we're actually stealing their ambitions! Wow, that's pathetic!

     

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      ehrichweiss, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 12:21pm

      Re:

      I hate to hijack but...

      Why ANYONE thinks U2 are pro musical freedom, I have no idea.

      See Negativland vs Island Records(U2) for more details. And for those Bono apologists who'll inevitably say that the band didn't know anything about it...I leave you with this interview that shows they absolutely knew; they just wanted to pretend to be the good guys.

      http://realserver.law.duke.edu/ramgen/spring04/framedafternoon2.rm

      That was at a conference on copyright and it's very interesting to hear REM's manager out U2 as the bastards they really are.

      Besides...these guys are from England and who gives a shit?

       

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      The infamous Joe, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 12:35pm

      Re:

      No, I get it-- we are stealing their ambitions-- of getting massively rich.

      You see, in the real world where a digital copy can be easily and freely distributed without restriction or cost, musicians will actually have to work to earn money. In much the same way that no one decides to be a high school teacher with ambitions to become massively rich, musicians will have a much easier time accessing the fans, and thus, instead of being spoon-fed only what the labels want us to hear, we'll have access to countless number of artists, all trying to get us to buy their merch and come to their shows. *More* musicians will be able to make a *decent* living being musicians, but fewer will become massively rich.

      This, of course, scares many old artists, as they are *still* making money off work they did decades ago. They *will* be hurt in the pocketbook (instead of a platnium shark tank they'd have to buy a white gold fish tank?) but many more of the smaller artists will get a chance to no longer have to do thier day job + be a musician.

      By the way, what is it that a Band Manager does anyway? (Think Office Space/I'm a people person, dammit!)

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 2:18pm

      Re:

      Last half decent artist to come out of France was.......? Anyone?

       

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        Catherine C, Apr 9th, 2009 @ 10:56pm

        Re: Re:

        Air and Daft Punk are French. While not huge sellers a la U2.

        BTW someone on here said U2 are English -they're actually Irish.

         

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    Shawn, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 11:31am

    A Myth?

    "It is a myth that artists can build long-term careers on live music alone.... "


    hmmm . . . . The Grateful Dead seem to do pretty well without much in the way of album sales . . . and for a very long time LOL. I would argue that 30 years is a pretty "long-term" career in the entertainment business. Of course they achieved this largely through allowing, even encouraging, the free distribution of their music. Crazy hippies . . .

     

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      Skaggs, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 5:52pm

      Re: A Myth?

      amen. the bands in the scene they spawned (phish, widespread panic, umphrey's mcgee, etc.) also seem to be doing pretty damn well! i love the current state of the music industry! it forces musicians to be exactly that - musicians. if you are someone that can only sound good with pro-tools and auto-tune, then good riddance! if you are a talented band/musician, then go on tour and entertain us! http://www.myspace.com/ourneighborbarry

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 11:41am

    Different Cultures Handle Problems Differently

    One thing that should be obvious, yet no one has touched on is the simple fact Paul McGuinness is not American. His support for French Three-Strikes law just further proves how out of touch with the American Consumer he is.

    His Milk-and-honey solution which will work in the US. Trying to push it down consumers throats will not gain respect, but will gain scorn to himself, the band/s he represents as well as companies he engages with.

     

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      edit, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 11:47am

      Re: Different Cultures Handle Problems Differently

      Should read:

      His Milk-and-honey solution will **NOT** work in the US.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 11:41am

    Hyperbole aside it is unrealistic to keep on claiming things like there are clear alternative business models in existence that are being wasted and overlooked by the industry.

    A lot of people with a great knowledge of and interest in the music industry have been trying for many years to figure out how to make music work in the internet age, and nothing viable for an industry has yet emerged - that doesn't mean it won't or can't happen but does give quite a bit of perspective on the issue.

    The Masnicks seem to have a rigid and religious belief that such business models will soon come to the fore (even perhaps inspired by soem throw away comment from the prime Masnick !), but if they really think that is credible surely they would have committed their own efforts and resources into revolutionizing an industry rather thatn just bolgging about it.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 11:53am

      Re:

      The internet age doesn't lend itself to huge monolithic industries, though. It does away with most of the inefficiencies that allowed economies of scale to outweigh the increased overhead of massive bureaucracies.

      Plenty of artists are using business models that work for them in the internet age. Just because they can't support a legion of record execs on top of that doesn't mean the models don't work; rather, it means the record execs no longer get a free ride on the backs of their artists.

       

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      hegemon13, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 11:56am

      Re:

      That's not true at all. The models that have worked, however, have been quickly snuffed out by the music industry by any means possible, including revoking licenses, increasing licensing costs to prohibitive levels, refusing to work with innovative companies, and demanding value-reducing DRM on all their products (until their recent too-little-too-late backpedaling).

      It may indeed be impossible, at this point, for the existing big labels to recover. They have destroyed too much public trust, and they have been so public in their stubbornness that they will look like hypocrites if they change their minds now. But, that is their own fault. They had their opportunity with Napster. Napster was the name in file-sharing, and it was synonymous in many people's minds with the "new way" to get music. Had they built an affordable subscription model around it then, public sentiment and expectations would be entirely different today. The labels blew it, and it will take a miracle to save them.

      You may not be able to imagine the new landscape of the music industry, but your blindness does not change reality. There is no religion to Mike's ideas. He has provided working, real-world examples over and over. It is people like you, resistant to change and unwilling to believe that something new and better will emerge, that dismiss those examples again and again. That doesn't mean they don't exist.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 12:26pm

      Re:

      You are confusing distribution sales. In the old model, you had music creation, reproduction, and distribution all accounted for in the price of a CD.

      Now reproduction and distribution is free. It doesn't cost the recording industry a dime. All they need is to cover the cost of music creation. That is a smaller, leaner industry.
      How do you justify stealing that money from the American economy to feed it to record execs to maintain the existing system?

       

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        Weird Harold, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 12:45pm

        Re: Re:

        When income = 0, there is no way to cover anything. recouping it through other things (like live shows) doesn't really make sense, because it implies that live shows were not done before.

        My question is this: What happens to bands or concepts that are just 'studio projects'?

        Heck, poster boy Trent Reznor played all of the instruments (except drums) on his first record. Would he be forced to have to get a band to be able to do live shows so as to be able to recoup the costs of making his record?

        Put another way, would we have classics such as Tubular Bells or Dark Side of the Moon if the bands could only recoup the money spent by playing it live? WOuld they have spent hours, weeks, months, and in some cases years to produce recordings that are considered masterpieces, if they had no way to earn anything with it?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 1:05pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Funny you mention Dark Side as famously Pink Floyd was on the verge of being dropped by thier label around that time (they had been on edge of being dropped for some time actually and were only kept on by the label because of the staunch personal support of some insiders) so Dark Side was made pretty quickly and was not a "big budget", "take your time" recording experience at all. So really, the truth is, a giant record industry nearly prevented soceity from getting such a "classic".

           

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            Weird Harold, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 1:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Not big budget? You need to go find out how much renting Abbey Road Studios use to cost, even for a couple of hours - and everything on this album was recorded there, not in someone's basement with pro-tools and a laptop.

            It's cheaper to produce stuff these days, and all we get now are 101 crappy tracks with vocoder vocals. :(

             

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          mobiGeek, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 1:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Income is zero if you abide by a dead business model in a modern world.

          Adjust your business model so that you are paid to produce rather than paid for already-produced, and you have income.

          Yes, you would absolutely have Tubular Bells if Mike Oldfield went the "pay me to make an album" route. I can name 100 people who today would pay good money to support such a project.

           

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          The infamous Joe, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 1:20pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Times change. Adapt or get out of the way.

          Many people made a living making scripted dramatic shows on the radio before the invention of the television, but that didn't mean radio-stars should have tried to stop the wide-spread adoption of the television. Technology is increasing so rapidly that by the time the record industry accepts their fate it will be a non-issue because we'll be onto something else.

          If I invented a device that could cause an apple to grow from a seed to fruit-bearing tree in 4 days, would you advocate laws against using such a device to its full potential for the sake of Apple Farmers? Afterall, I could buy one apple from them and never have to buy another for as long as I live. (Though, with the world as it is today, Apple Farmers would probably just slightly alter the genetic code of their apples and then patent that genetic code; Hungry people be damned.)

          They need to stop fighting, be creative, and adapt to this new world.

          PS- Making laws to prevent their business model from becoming obsolete is *not* adaptation.

           

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          Nope, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 2:20pm

          Nope

          Nope - we might not have any of those things. We might have something totally different. The fact that those things aren't supported by today's economy doesn't mean we should change the economy.

          If we didn't have the bubble of 2000, we would not have had Pets.com, and the ability to deliver dogfood for free. Should we go back to the bubble of 2000? Or should we agree that Pets.com was a mistake - and let the economy drive it out of business.

          That's what's going to happen to music models that don't base themselves on reality. They be driven out of business. They shouldn't be in business. But other companies WILL flourish - if we don't legislate them into oblivion. Why is there no MP3.com anymore, or no Napster? Why is Pandora under attack? I want these things as much as I want Dark Side of the Moon... They flourish in the new reality of the internet era. Or at least they should...

           

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        skint muso, Apr 15th, 2009 @ 10:01am

        distribution

        you forgot about copyright & origination & marketing - which accounts for the vast majority of spend, and still does - how do most ppl heat about a band amounts the 10 million bands on myspace?

        also the vast majority of music sales worldwide - 80% or so are still physical, so your argument is nonsense

         

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    Has stoped buying music, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 11:57am

    Its because of people like McGuinness I dont buy music anymore. I just listen to the sports radio now.

     

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    another mike, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 12:05pm

    live music and other cash cows

    The Rolling Stones seem to have a long career of live (or in Keith Richards' case, undead:) music, too. Hell, it worked so well they've had, what? Five or six farewell tours now?

    McGuinness supposedly represents U2. He must think Bono and pals play to empty stadiums when they're on tour. I bet McGuinness is also against compounding creativity through things like remixing. So U2's Popmart tour, where every show opened with a remix of "Pop Musik", was an abject failure then.

     

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    Booger, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 12:16pm

    French artists?

    Why is U2's manager chiming in on french artists, mimes don't speak, much less sing, and how many mime torrents are there anyway?

     

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    Refe, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Anonymous Coward

    You said that people in the music industry have been trying to find alternative business models and "and nothing viable for an industry has yet emerged." Don't confuse industry-wide acceptance as viability. Just because one single model has not yet become the dominant solution doesn't mean the other's aren't viable. This is just what it will probably look like for quite some time - pockets of innovation that represent a myriad of different, new business models that give smaller entities (bands) more control over their careers and give consumers and music-lovers more options.

     

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    Justin, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 12:41pm

    Guys like these are idiots

    I understand how most of these people complaining about how piracy is killing the music industry just don't get it. It can be vary hard to think outside the box when you have been milking the cash cow for years.

    Does he really think that kicking people out of the distribution chain (Internet) is a good thing. Its like borrowing a friends car and having GM ban you from stepping into a dealer. Obviously you need a car why not serve the market?

    Does he really not see that this is damn near free to distribute your music that all you need to do is make a % of what you did in the past and you are still going to come out ahead.

    This is also simple economics, with the current level of technology you are now selling an infinite good. Infinite goods are not worth much, you need to find a way to add value to your product, every other business does it why should the music industry be any different

     

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    Not you, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 12:50pm

    This seems fairly obvious to me, but I rarely see it mentioned either in the comments or the articles themselves (although I see bits and pieces of it appear here and there), so I figure I'll make the point myself.

    All of these complaints about piracy and "free" business models and so on that come from business execs are not about making money, they are about making *as much money as they currently do*.

    A musician (or musicians) can easily make money via live shows / limited editions / t-shirts (heh) and whatever, and still give away their actual music for free. As an example off the top of my head, the record label "Candyrat Records" is based heavily around acoustic guitar players and various relatively unpopular styles of music (acoustic solo albums etc...), and they have an extremely large youtube channel with many videos from all of their artists (I have bought several albums from there based solely on the youtube videos).

    Presumably, the candyrat artists live a pretty comfortable life based on their musical talent, through live shows in their own circles (the candyrat artists don't tend to be hugely popular, but that's more due to their genre) and CD sales; but that's not the point.

    When people like Mr. McGuinness complain about loss of money in the music industry, they are not talking about the money that goes to the artists; they are talking about the money that goes to the industry based around the artists. The record labels, the producers and the like.

    That is their complaint, although to appear less selfish and money grabbing, they frame it as though it is the poor little artists being anally raped by the internet hate machine.

    The various new business models proposed here and elsewhere bring in *less money overall*. The artists themselves may make the same amount (or even more) than they did previously, but there is less money to go around for all the rest of the industry.

    That is why they are so loud, that is why they are pushing for these laws. They are basically scared. They have been made completely redundant, and they don't know how to respond other than to desperately try to keep everything the same as it's always been.

    Artists don't need the music industry any more, but the music industry needs the artists, and they are refusing to let go.


    Boy that took me longer to write than I thought it would. I hope it's not too rambling. Also, I'm not claiming that their actions are justified, I'm just claiming they're understandable.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 12:59pm

    What is Best Buy doing?

    Hi Harold Hill,

    CD Duplication prices are relatively cheap and can be done in many cases, online or at a local level.

    On another note, has anyone had experience approaching big box retailers to have them carry a product? Recently, I've seen a few local bands being carried at Best Buy. Does anyone have experience working with Best Buy? It seems they can facilitate physical distribution at a local level, but these are just observations.

    It also seems the same artists are getting airplay locally too. Perhaps they make their royalties so low (read: free) that they can't afford to pass up local airplay.

    If anyone has insight or experience on how to handle the business side and/or promotion from a local level, would prove quite helpful to many.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 1:05pm

    Don't forget this is the same moron that was screaming about banning MP3 players and the evils of MP3s while Bono was on TV commercials trying to get you to buy an Ipod. He's just an idiot that doesn't deserve any coverage.

     

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    Mikecancook, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 1:06pm

    Who stole the jam in his jelly donut?

    Seems to me that if you could pull in $300 million a year you wouldn't be such a douche. Just seems that he could afford to be a little douche-y.

     

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    Shawn, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 1:25pm

    Exactly what you would expect

    His reasoning seems perfectly appropriate for someone who lives off the creativity and talent of others.

     

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    Alan Jericho, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 1:29pm

    Well then, to 'heck' with McGuinness and U2

    I have GA tickets to one of their stadium dates later this year and I notice they're going for hundreds of dollars above cost on eBay and elsewhere. So with that in mind, it's about time they put money back in my pocket..

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 1:57pm

    Isn't "three strikes" really an attempt to destroy the internet and return the viability of the recording industry's business model? (note I said recording industry, not music industry) After all, no doubt they'd LOVE to see the internet go away. Since thats not going to happen, they look for a way to cut off as many people as possible from their isp link. It wouldn't surprise me to see 10's if not 100's of thousands of users sent "3 strike" notices by the RIAA and MPAA. I'll bet you'd eventually see "3 strikes" expanded to EVERYTHING involved with copyright on the internet. Such as purchasing counterfeit goods, viewing the "wrong" videos on youTube. It certainly wont stop at up/downloading mp3's.

     

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    Nick, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 2:16pm

    Alternative models mean less money for the label

    Mike, a lot of your pieces seem to be written expressing astonishment that execs from existing labels "don't get" the alternative models that can work for artists in a "copies of recordings are free" environment. I'm pretty sure you know better than that.

    This isn't about the artists from the execs' point of view, and never has been. It's about continuing to support a fat, bloated intermediary between musicians and listeners that can't cope with the idea that the internet reduces their role to little more than a music recommendation system than can actually be handled by a computer algorithm running on Apple's or Amazon's (or anyone else's) servers (i.e. "People who liked this artist, also liked...", "You have an album by ..., you may also like ...") and a "How To" consultant that can be replaced by a little online reading and some basic services for getting new music onto the online music stores.

    Who cares if the artists can easily make enough money to not only live on, but also to turn a nice profit? The real question here is where the label execs are going to get the money for their next Porsche!

     

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    Erv Server, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 2:17pm

    McGuinness

    I'm sick of McGuinness and others who continually whine about the internet. Really...its old and stupid. The internet isn't going anywhere and if piracy is as big as these dopes say it is then millions of people will be kicked off the internet? LOL yeahh..

     

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    Yichael Cheinicke, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 2:38pm

    Trent Reznor doesn't have this problem....

    " It is a myth that artists can build long-term careers on live music alone.... "

    -U2s manager

    Odd, NIN decided to hide mp3s of songs from their new album at the venues of the live shows. NIN sells out and Trent makes his ca$h, go Trent!

    Wtf is U2s problem? Are they mad Metallica made all the best points legally? PS - Rock is NOT dead...

     

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    Overcast, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 2:53pm

    If not for listening to 'free' music on the radio - I can GUARANTEE I would have never, ever bought any of their (U2) CD's...

    Free hurts?

     

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      Weird Harold, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 3:02pm

      Re:

      One day you will wake up and realize that what you listened to on the radio wasn't free, not was it "infinitely" usable.

      Basically, the radio station paid to play the song, and you paid by listening to commercials.

      The radio broadcast is both compressed and of low, non-digital quality, such that you cannot reproduce the song in a good enough quality to enjoy without purchase. Further, they like talked over the into, mixed it into the next song, or dumped a station ID in there somewhere, leaving you will a less than perfect copy.

      Radio is the ultimate in music "sampling". The give you enough product to get you hooked, but not enough to stop you from buying - all the while you are paying with your attention to enjoy the music.

      Free radio != "FREE!"

       

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        The infamous Joe, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 3:27pm

        Re: Re:

        The give you enough product to get you hooked, but not enough to stop you from buying - all the while you are paying with your attention to enjoy the music.

        I think the reason you can't see things eye to eye with the other side is that we can't agree on what is the product, and what is the ad.

        It doesn't help that you think that progress can be reversed (and that it should be, which might be worse)

        What I don't understand is why, exactly, you are so hell bent on paying inflated prices for an infinite product. Are you (or were you) a musician? A record label exec? A record label employee? Because, when it comes to a healthy, free market, you seem to be dead set on anything that hinders it. So there's no way you're a consumer.

         

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          Weird Harold, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 4:57pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think the reason you can't see things eye to eye with the other side is that we can't agree on what is the product, and what is the ad.

          I understand the idea of "music as the ad", but it's a horsecrap theory created mostly to cover over rampant piracy. It would be different if music had been a massive money losing business for the last 80 years or so, but that isn't the case.

          Why use something that was generating substantial income to sell something else, especially if you have no clue if you can actually make an increased enough amount of income to merit the change?

          A mentality has been fostered that anything that can be copied should be free, and Mike and his ilk are all lining up to tell us how to use "FREE!" to sell other things, forgetting that without payment, the original object will stop being produced at it's current level.

          "progress" so far appears to be something that isn't being made here. If anything, rather than going from buggies to cars, we appear to be parking the cars, shooting the horses, and going back to walking and carrying heavy loads on our backs. This doesn't appear to be progress to me.

          I don't understand how dumping a 10 billion dollar a year business out the window and giving away all that product for free is suddenly going to generate more than 10 billion of benefit anywhere else, especially in a manner that would benefit the people who write, produce, record, and making their living from the music business. I have yet to see anyone explain that (and no, Mike's manifesto thingie doesn't do it). Plenty of vague concepts, not much in the way of proof.

          What I don't understand is why, exactly, you are so hell bent on paying inflated prices for an infinite product.

          It's the very basic mistake at play here. digital information is infinite, the music it represents is not. 1s and 0s are infinite, the number of U2 songs is not. I am not paying for 1s and 0s, I am paying for the enjoyment of something scarce, a Beatles song or a spoken word essay. When you stop trying to make the limited catalog of an artist into an artificial "infinite" good, you will remember why it is worth paying for.

           

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            The infamous Joe, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 5:41pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Now we're getting somewhere!

            I understand the idea of "music as the ad", but it's a horsecrap theory created mostly to cover over rampant piracy. It would be different if music had been a massive money losing business for the last 80 years or so, but that isn't the case.

            That's because as technology changes, things that used to be expensive become less so. For instance: Ice. How much would you spend on ice these days? Not much, if anything. There was a time, before cheap refrigeration, that ice was expensive, and a commodity. Now we all have the required equipment at home to make ice. Should ice vendors have fought tooth and nail to stop us from freezing our own water?

            This is one of the ways your arguments fail. You keep pointing to the past and saying that it *used* to make a lot of money. The past is gone. Let it go.

            Why use something that was generating substantial income to sell something else, especially if you have no clue if you can actually make an increased enough amount of income to merit the change?

            The first part I've already answered, so we'll skip that. The second is important, though. Chances are pretty good (from where I sit, but I'm by no means an expert) that the "Music is Free!" business model probably won't make many ultra-super-mega stars. But, it *will* increase the ability for a *greater number* of musicians to earn a decent living making music. Of course, if music was all still analog and difficult to distribute I'd be right there with you, buying plastic discs. However, as stated above, selling recordings of music is no longer a sound business decision any more than going into the crushed ice business.

            A mentality has been fostered that anything that can be copied should be free, and Mike and his ilk are all lining up to tell us how to use "FREE!" to sell other things, forgetting that without payment, the original object will stop being produced at it's current level.

            Commercials are paid for every day, but not by the consumer-- in fact, companies pay a good deal of money for the right to give away their commercials on Superbowl Sunday. Some commercials are very funny, and I imagine a good deal of money was put into just making it, let alone airing it.

            "progress" so far appears to be something that isn't being made here. If anything, rather than going from buggies to cars, we appear to be parking the cars, shooting the horses, and going back to walking and carrying heavy loads on our backs. This doesn't appear to be progress to me.

            Being the huge dork that I am, I've actually considered the financial ramifications of the invention of cheap teleportation. (Please don't ask.) Think of all the money that is created from getting people from point A to point B. Roads, bridges, oil companies, tires, car, trains, tiny bags of peanuts, people that make road signs, civil engineers, etc, etc. We would both agree (I hope) that teleportation would be progress, yet many people who became rich from moving people from A to B will no longer be able to do so.

            I don't understand how dumping a 10 billion dollar a year business out the window and giving away all that product for free is suddenly going to generate more than 10 billion of benefit anywhere else, especially in a manner that would benefit the people who write, produce, record, and making their living from the music business. I have yet to see anyone explain that (and no, Mike's manifesto thingie doesn't do it). Plenty of vague concepts, not much in the way of proof.

            The business of selling digital recordings is not being "thrown out" it's a sinking ship that should be abandoned. I can make a copy of a digital recording right now as I type this, so it's clearly very easy. I can distribute it right now, very cheaply. People get paid to do things other people can't do as well, or don't want to do. Since I can make digital copies just as well as the recording industry, and I can distribute it better than they can, and I'll willingly do it for free, why would anyone else pay them for that service? As for benefiting all those people, well, much like the lovable buggy whip maker, some of those people you mentioned are going to need a new trade. Others will need to redefine the trade they have now. Blaming piracy is incorrect-- the real blame lies squarely on technology. Any attempt to curb piracy is really just an attempt to slow the progress of technology.

            It's the very basic mistake at play here. digital information is infinite, the music it represents is not. 1s and 0s are infinite, the number of U2 songs is not. I am not paying for 1s and 0s, I am paying for the enjoyment of something scarce, a Beatles song or a spoken word essay. When you stop trying to make the limited catalog of an artist into an artificial "infinite" good, you will remember why it is worth paying for.

            You are, again, confusing the product a musician makes (music) and the product the recording industry makes. (recordings) I cannot write music, or play an instrument. But I can bang on a pot with a spoon and record it. So, I think musicians will be fine, until all of us can make music, their job is safe and sound. However, things don't look that good for the recording industry. I can record things quite easily-- but that's not even the sad part. They aren't raking in "10 billion dollars" because they are making new recordings, they rake it in for making **copies** of recordings. Do you see where I'm going with this? It's a simple concept-- their business will die because a four year old can do what they charge between $0.69 and $1.29 to do. For free.

            So, you're half right-- there is a finite number of Beatles songs, but there are an *infinite* number of recordings of each.

            If you still have questions, let's see them.

             

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              Weird Harold, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 6:12pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Hey Joe, great discussion, nice to see someone with reasonable and well thought out points of view rather than just mouthing the company line. Mike should hire you, as yu do a much better job of explaining things than he does. I don't agree with you, but you do a better job explain ;)

              This is one of the ways your arguments fail. You keep pointing to the past and saying that it *used* to make a lot of money. The past is gone. Let it go.

              The ice argument is nice, but not entirely relevant. Cheap music has always been available, most of us know how to whistle and many of us sing in the shower. So there is no shortage of cheap music, just a shortage of good music.

              Plus the ice argument is a bit off because there was an obvious advancement and benefit to all. A closer analogy would be people stealing all the ice from the ice man because, well, it is easy to make so it is just about infinite, so why worry? We aren't talking about advancement because technology has improved, just that the tools for "borrowing ice" have gotten so much better.

              Commercials are paid for every day, but not by the consumer

              Here you are confusing two things - the cost to produce the commercial and buy airtime for it, and the audience's attention. The consumer pays nothing out of his pocket, but he pays with his attention to the commercials, his reward is limit, real-time enjoyment of music as selected by the radio station. What a company pays to create the ad isn't relevant in the cost to the consumer. My only point is to show that even on the old fashioned "free" radio, it isn't really free, just without direct monetary costs to the consumer.

              Being the huge dork that I am, I've actually considered the financial ramifications of the invention of cheap teleportation.

              This is something that would be clear progress. While certain industries would wane, others would be created, and other would benefit (imagine the increase in long distance calls as people try to make sure the landing area is clear). However, the current "FREE!" concept is pretty much like taping packages on the top of a transport truck in one city, and taking them off in the other, and calling it a no cost transpotation system. There was still a ton of expense to get it done.

              The business of selling digital recordings is not being "thrown out" it's a sinking ship that should be abandoned. I can make a copy of a digital recording right now as I type this, so it's clearly very easy. I can distribute it right now, very cheaply.

              Yup, but how long would it take you personally to create the actual material? You are correct, you can shove 1s and 0s around as fast as your connection will allow you - but all the 1s and 0s in the world won't create Supertramp's Breakfast in America album. By your logic, the cost of records, CDs, tapes, 8 tracks, whatever, should have been governed only by the cost of the material used to reproduce it, and not what was on it. CDs sold at the cost of blank media. It's not very logical.

              . They aren't raking in "10 billion dollars" because they are making new recordings, they rake it in for making **copies** of recordings

              in the end, you aren't paying for the copy (disk or whatever) specifically, you are paying for the right to hold a copy of the performance and enjoy it personally. Don't confuse delivery method with what you are purchasing. The disc or file is a cost X item, the cost of creating the perfomance and the value of that actual performance is key here. it is a very, very finite good (ask Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Shannon Hoon for some fresh new material). Your abilty to enjoy listening to those rare recordings is what you are paying for every time you listen to it on the radio or buy a CD or a track at Itunes.

              In the end, here's where I stand on it: $15 for a CD is expensive for what it is. Zero is unsustainable and meaningless. So the correct answer is somewhere in between.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 6:57pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Cheap music has always been available, most of us know how to whistle and many of us sing in the shower.

                There you go again. I will disagree with you here and say that making music isn't cheap. I have no idea the countless hours it took to learn to play the guitar, and as you have pointed out, someone's time is very valuable to them. In much the same way that the years it took me to learn how to do my job make it expensive to me, even if I make it look easy. The problem is that you are thinking of "music" as the actual sounds and I view music as the *act* of making sound. There is a *huge* difference. I will gladly pay for a band I like to make *new* music, but I see no reason to pay them again for work they've already done.

                Plus the ice argument is a bit off because there was an obvious advancement and benefit to all

                First off, when someone makes an analogy, it's bad form to pick apart the analogy on how it's different. Of course it's not a perfect match. I only throw out analogies to help someone understand something on a less complicated (or more familiar) level.

                That being said-- isn't spreading a musician's fame more thoroughly a benefit to the musician. Isn't bringing art to people that wouldn't have heard it otherwise a benefit to them? So, wouldn't spreading every musician's fame to everyone a benefit to everyone?

                We aren't talking about advancement because technology has improved, just that the tools for "borrowing ice" have gotten so much better.

                tools = technology. 'nuff said.

                Here you are confusing two things - the cost to produce the commercial and buy airtime for it, and the audience's attention. The consumer pays nothing out of his pocket, but he pays with his attention to the commercials, his reward is limit, real-time enjoyment of music as selected by the radio station.

                Exactly! Now, explain to me how being able to single out an artist and listen to his music, and then to go a step further and spread that artist's music at will to my friends, classmates, co-workers and family is any different than that. You, in one paragraph, say that commercials are paid for and given away because the consumer's attention is valuable, and then go on to say that it's in the musician's best interest to stop the spread of their music.

                While certain industries would wane, others would be created, and other would benefit

                So we agree then? Some parts of the Entertainment Industry will wane due to this technological advancement (CD Sales, DvD Sales) while other parts will benefit. (Musicians) I'm glad we see eye to eye here at least.

                By your logic, the cost of records, CDs, tapes, 8 tracks, whatever, should have been governed only by the cost of the material used to reproduce it, and not what was on it. CDs sold at the cost of blank media. It's not very logical.

                I think you misunderstand. There is a major difference between all those forms of media distribution and what we're discussing. I'm not even discussing physical distribution-- it's outdated and the future is clearly in digital distribution. It costs $0 to copy an mp3. It costs $0 to share it with my friend via email. It also costs me $0 to share it with the world via p2p. I agree that the initial act of recording takes a finite, positive amount of money, but as I've already said, so do commercials, and no one would *ever* complain if I shared commercials with my friends. It's the point of their existence.

                in the end, you aren't paying for the copy (disk or whatever) specifically, you are paying for the right to hold a copy of the performance and enjoy it personally

                Incorrect. I am paying (or used to pay for) one copy of a recording. You know how I know this? Because if my CDs were lost in a fire, the record labels would not give me new copies. Did my rights go up in the fire, too? No, of course not. They sold me a recording. When the recording gets scratched or melted, I'm SOL.

                (ask Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Shannon Hoon for some fresh new material). Your abilty to enjoy listening to those rare recordings is what you are paying for every time you listen to it on the radio or buy a CD or a track at Itunes.

                I see what you did there! I can't ask them because they're *dead*! Nice!

                So, Howard, why do dead people deserve to get paid for work they are **clearly** not doing anymore?

                In the end, here's where I stand on it: $15 for a CD is expensive for what it is. Zero is unsustainable and meaningless. So the correct answer is somewhere in between.

                I have no opinion on the cost of CDs. Also, I have no opinion on the fair price of Cassette tapes, or 8 tracks. I do have an opinion on the reasonable price of digital copies of digial media, which is what we're discussing, and that is: $0 to reproduce = $0 to buy. Don't blame me, it's economics.

                I feel we're making progress, Howard. Any more questions?

                 

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                  The infamous Joe, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 6:58pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I knew I forgot something! My name! :P

                   

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                  Weird Harold, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 7:21pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Now this is fun (and I wish more people on this site got it!).

                  I will gladly pay for a band I like to make *new* music, but I see no reason to pay them again for work they've already done.

                  Alas, are you willing to pay the full cost personally? Are you willing to personally support the artist for the next year, and the year after that so they can produce the music? Nope. When you buy a CD (and for the purposes of discussion, let's say that the term "buy a CD" includes any music purchase, itunes, whatever), you are paying a very small percentage of the costs for them to produce the music for you, and that cost is shared by however many people buy the record. If they do well, they will make money, if they don't they won't.

                  Now, explain to me how being able to single out an artist and listen to his music, and then to go a step further and spread that artist's music at will to my friends, classmates, co-workers and family is any different than that.

                  Because you are confusing the product and the advertising. If you give the music away for free, what exactly does the artist sell? Nothing. They can only make money by doing something additional (performances, upsells to autographed copies, whatever). Artists should not be required to do twice the work to make a living, they should be able to just record music, let it be sold for a price, and making a living like that. In the end, it isn't fair to them, and removes much of the reason to create new music to start with.

                  the future is clearly in digital distribution. It costs $0 to copy an mp3. It costs $0 to share it with my friend via email. It also costs me $0 to share it with the world via p2p. It costs you nothing, it costs the artist everything. Shouldn't it be up to the artist how they are marketed, and not up to individual "fans" to make that choice for them? I respect Trent Reznor's desire to give away all his work for nothing, but I also respect those who don't want to be given away for nothing. I don't think that should be up to you and your zero cost distribution system (after all, if you actually paid a distribution license, the cost of the media wouldn't be the big part of the transaction).

                  So, Howard, why do dead people deserve to get paid for work they are **clearly** not doing anymore?

                  It's just like a painter, we are paying to enjoy seeing his or her work after it is gone (when we pay to enter a museum) or we pay to enjoy it if we buy the work outright (and we pay dearly for that priviledge). We are paying for what they have done, and dead or alive it doesn't matter (otherwise the easy way to get a free movie would be to kill all the actors at the end of production).

                  I do have an opinion on the reasonable price of digital copies of digial media, which is what we're discussing, and that is: $0 to reproduce = $0 to buy. Don't blame me, it's economics.

                  Standard question: Where did you get the "digital media" from to start with? Only two places, either you purchased a copy (and they chose to violate your license rights by distributing it for free) or you received it from someone who did the same and you are in possession of an "infringing" copy. You may think you have done something great, but the failure to pay for (or by giving away encouraging others not to pay) has taken away from the artist and taken away from the process that produced that piece of work and would pay for the next one.

                  it isn't economics - it's a sly covering for massive "infringement", not really much more. You can nod and wink and call it "economics", I guess. But I think of it more of a widespread moral failure, where people have stopped caring about the rights of others, and are only more concerned about getting something for free.

                  Tangent on this: I was trying to figure something out. There are two things that are the pillars of Techdirt: Copyright sucks and kill it all, and how to market "FREE!". Is the hatred of copyright real, or is it just an attempt to further interests? After all, if copyright was more rigorously enforced and mass file trading diminished, would the "FREE!" message still ring true? If there was money in selling music, would anyone be interested in giving it away? Sometimes I think that much of this is self interest from Mike to sell his services as a guru for companies trying to navigate this minefield. It's almost like he is out there campaigning for more mines, so he can sell minefield maps.

                  Just a random thought.

                   

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                    Jan Hopmans (profile), Apr 10th, 2009 @ 7:07am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    The ice argument is nice, but not entirely relevant. Cheap music has always been available, most of us know how to whistle and many of us sing in the shower. So there is no shortage of cheap music, just a shortage of good music.First of all it's an ANOLOGY, they can be a bit off.
                    Second, it actually really even supports this point.
                    Cheap Ice also always has been available. Think of the Alps, Mountains, North-&Southpole. Just to bad it has always been on a lot of hard to reach places.
                    Just like with music, there's plenty of good ice/music available, just that it was hard to find & distribute.

                    Alas, are you willing to pay the full cost personally? No, this is why I would pay for the creation of it in small bits together with a lot of other people. :) I pay a very small part of the cost, the cost is shared by however many people buy in to this.
                    Don't you think it is actually quit stupid, from a business perspective, to pay for something if it isn't clear if you will ever get you money back from it? Why guess if you could also make people pay in front.

                    It's just like a painter, we are paying to enjoy seeing his or her work after it is gone (when we pay to enter a museum) or we pay to enjoy it if we buy the work outrightI don't think an artist ever sees a dime for that. In the case of a museum the artist has already been paid when he created and/or sold his art piece. We pay for access to a building where a lot of art is stored, we can not access the art in any other way. It's practically impossible. Also when you buy a masterpiece second handed, you can't get a Rembrandt first handed, the artist won't get a dime.

                    Because you are confusing the product and the advertising.Let's just imagine this hypothetical situation where an artist makes money with creating his art.
                    For all the moments he spend on his art he charges money. He needs to get paid, only nobody knows him yet. He could sell the creation of his art, but nobody would buy it. He could write some things he wanted, but nobody could ever see it. He needs to be exposed.

                     

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                    Jan Hopmans (profile), Apr 10th, 2009 @ 7:08am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    P.s. I would pay a hell lot if Janis Joplin could create a new record...

                     

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                  skint muso, Apr 15th, 2009 @ 10:31am

                  musicians are worthless?

                  "I will gladly pay for a band I like to make *new* music, but I see no reason to pay them again for work they've already done."

                  So if you do a job for employer A only, your happy for that work to be sold to employer B & employer C without any reward?

                  "Isn't bringing art to people that wouldn't have heard it otherwise a benefit to them?"

                  Not when the example is only being cited to justify not paying that artist income that they would otherwise be receiving.

                  "I do have an opinion on the reasonable price of digital copies of digial media, which is what we're discussing, and that is: $0 to reproduce = $0 to buy. "

                  What about the cost to make & market?

                  What do you work as?
                  I'd love to dissect your job, and tell you you why your worthless because If I can steal the product of your labor, then your worth nothing.

                   

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            Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 5:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "I don't understand how dumping a 10 billion dollar a year business out the window and giving away all that product for free is suddenly going to generate more than 10 billion of benefit anywhere else, especially in a manner that would benefit the people who write, produce, record, and making their living from the music business. I have yet to see anyone explain that (and no, Mike's manifesto thingie doesn't do it). Plenty of vague concepts, not much in the way of proof."

            Why, exactly, do we need to replace that 10 billion dollar industry? Using the business models that artists are experimenting with today the artists make money, we get quality music for cheap and a greater level of access to the musicians....everyone's happy. And now consumers have more money to spend on more important things, which stimulates the economy. There aren't really any downsides here; there's no need to match the revenue that the industry had before.

             

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        The infamous Joe, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 3:27pm

        Re: Re:

        The give you enough product to get you hooked, but not enough to stop you from buying - all the while you are paying with your attention to enjoy the music.

        I think the reason you can't see things eye to eye with the other side is that we can't agree on what is the product, and what is the ad.

        It doesn't help that you think that progress can be reversed (and that it should be, which might be worse)

        What I don't understand is why, exactly, you are so hell bent on paying inflated prices for an infinite product. Are you (or were you) a musician? A record label exec? A record label employee? Because, when it comes to a healthy, free market, you seem to be dead set on anything that hinders it. So there's no way you're a consumer.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 7:18pm

        Re: Re:

        yeah i agree. because, you know, people never, ever used to tape songs off the radio, it just wasnt high enough quality to satisfy them, there was no way you could enjoy the song unless you purchased it. jackass.

         

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    Overcast, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 2:54pm

    I'm sick of McGuinness and others who continually whine about the internet. Really...its old and stupid. The internet isn't going anywhere and if piracy is as big as these dopes say it is then millions of people will be kicked off the internet? LOL yeahh..

    Wonder if Bach or Beethoven would have whined about radio? :)

     

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    David (profile), Apr 8th, 2009 @ 4:02pm

    Story

    This is a story. It's just me. But it's something I do, and so maybe other people do it as well.

    I found out about (probably here) an artist called Flashbulb, who had his music sold on iTunes. Problem was, he didn't authorize it and wasn't getting paid for it, and when he asked them to stop they said "It's too hard to do that, so sorry." They also, IIRC, didn't ever give him any money.

    So he decided to give the music away himself. I went to his site, downloaded the songs, burned them to a CD and listened. And liked it. So I decided to send him some money. 10 bucks. Seemed a fair price to me. He got the whole $10.

    This came from "giving away something for free". Don't know if he made much money on this, but I assume others gave him a few bucks as well. And I bought other music off his site as well.

    I sent $20 to Nina Paley, for the movie "Sita Sings the Blues". She gave that away for free (for other reasons).

    I prefer to send my money straight to the artist, and will often send more than I would want to give if I bought it at Best Buy or wherever.

    Like I said, just a story.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 7:01pm

    Join the crowd pal

    the crisis in our community is real. A generation of people, all over the globe are seeing their livelihoods destroyed, their career ambitions stolen. Investment that should help them is draining out of the industry. This isn't just a shift in the business model from greed to more greed. It's a catastrophe for all the people, old and new.

    Join the crowd pal ...
    but I guess you would rather not mingle with the soiled masses who actually work for a living, or used to anyways before they were layed off, downsized, whatever.
    So boo hoo for you - its so sad to see the rich moan about their lot in life - really chokes me up, ya know.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 7:26pm

    Mind the gap

    Unfortunately, Weird Harold seems to be lacking full grasp of some concepts. Which is fine: he's admitted here that he's a graphic designer by trade.

     

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      Weird Harold, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 10:03pm

      Re: Mind the gap

      Sorry, I have not admitted that.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 11:34pm

        Re: Re: Mind the gap

        Thanks, Harold Hill.

        I like to see if you deliberately skirt other posts.

        I take delight in silence towards specific questions posed to you over the past few months. Indeed, I've learned silence can be more insightful than those which he provided answers to.

        "Nash Equilibrium" is an interesting concept at the moment.

        You've provided more in your silence than you've provided in speaking.

         

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    rjk, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 7:41pm

    What I don't understand is why, exactly, you are so hell bent on paying inflated prices for an infinite product.

    It's the very basic mistake at play here. digital information is infinite, the music it represents is not. 1s and 0s are infinite, the number of U2 songs is not. I am not paying for 1s and 0s, I am paying for the enjoyment of something scarce, a Beatles song or a spoken word essay. When you stop trying to make the limited catalog of an artist into an artificial "infinite" good, you will remember why it is worth paying for.

    This doesn't answer the question. What the pirates have demonstrated is that it is possible to reproduce and distribute digital music for a cost of $0.00. For artists as huge as U2 or Bruce Springsteen little more than an email notification is required to let their fans know a new album is set to be released.

    The original question still stands, why are you so intent on paying inflated prices for music?

    The question I have for the Paul McGuinnesses of the world is if it costs you nothing to reproduce, distrubute and promote a new album to your biggest fans... why on God's green earth are we expected to pay $15 to get a CD quality version of an album?

    Is there no possible option between $0 and $15?

     

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      Weird Harold, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 10:19pm

      Re:

      The original question still stands, why are you so intent on paying inflated prices for music?

      I have to assume by overinflated you mean anything above zero.

      What the pirates have demonstrated is that it is possible to reproduce and distribute digital music for a cost of $0.00

      No, actually, what pirates have clearly demonstrated is that everyone likes free, and given a big enough movement of a mob in a direction people will be encouraged to do something they normally would not do, the wholesale violation of copyright and the hording of vast collections of music without rights, without payment, and without any concern to the long term survival of the music business in any way shape or form. Basically, they have shown a way to perform digital shoplifting in bulk.

      note: I typed a few longer answers to this, but much of it would just start a massive flame war here I am not interested in. It is safe to say however that I liken the current levels of piracy to holding the music industry hostage, with no hope of resolution before the hostage dies.

      Is there no possible option between $0 and $15?

      Yes, there is the Itunes option - and seeing how absolutely pissed off people are around here that instead of the majority of music dropping to 69 cents that most of it went up to $1.39, I would say that price isn't the issue here. It's "give me the music free or I am leaving, and I will take the music anyway, and give it to everyone just to piss you off some more too".

      I can't wait to see a few major bands come down and say "you know what, we can't make money producing records anymore, so we are stopping. We will only do concerts and play our old stuff one more time, and then we are going off to the beach". In other words, "screw you guys, I'm going home".

      When there isn't any more pleasure or reward in the process, they will stop. Then the true change will be complete.

       

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        Anonymoose, Apr 9th, 2009 @ 11:18am

        Why haven't bands called it a day?

        I can't wait to see a few major bands come down and say "you know what, we can't make money producing records anymore, so we are stopping. We will only do concerts and play our old stuff one more time, and then we are going off to the beach". In other words, "screw you guys, I'm going home".
        Which raises an interesting question: if today's endemic piracy is so bad for musicians (as opposed to the labels and distribution industry), why haven't we seen artists leaving the business? Has any?

         

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        Jan Hopmans (profile), Apr 10th, 2009 @ 7:22am

        Re: Re:

        On top of Anymoose question here:
        you know what, we can't make money producing records anymore, so we are stopping. We will only do concerts
        Who would ever go to those concerts if they don't have any songs recorded? Who would ever go there if the old songs get old?

        And last buy not least: Why hasn't anyone quit?

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 8:23pm

    Turn your head, nothing to see here

    To determine operational costs of the current system, it's best to research settlement values, audit payment and procurement to artists, and also determine brand valuations pre-and-post settlement to determine if legalism is the correct path.

    However, I believe such learning exercises and analytics are not of interest, unless your a publicly traded company specializing in content acquisition and distribution.

    McGuinness doesn't have to play by said rules. I'd be surprised if he netted $1M out of $300M gross last year. Simply put, he does what his handlers say. "Want more money, put the licensing company offshore." they probably suggested.

    Paul is the mouthpiece of pure, unadulterated shit. Probably lives next to a Black & Veatch Biosolids Water Treatment Facility. It will take a lot for me to respect that nameless band again.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 9:14pm

    "Are you willing to personally support the artist for the next year, and the year after that so they can produce the music?"

    Hell no. - Do you realize how much blow cost these days ?

     

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    Nick (profile), Apr 8th, 2009 @ 9:52pm

    Unfortunately for McGuinnes, there is no "viable economic alternative," there is only death.

    Where was McGuinnes when the horse and buggy industry was limited down to a couple hundred Amish families in Pennsylvania when Henry Ford came along? They could have used a cry baby like him.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 11:44pm

    Fawk U2, They are HASBEEN!

     

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      mike, Apr 10th, 2009 @ 5:11am

      Re:

      yeah so hasbeen - 2.5 million concert tickets sold with that number rising for the first leg of their next tour Mike

       

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    rjk, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 11:59pm

    I have to assume by overinflated you mean anything above zero.

    oh really, you read my post and took it to mean that I want stuff for free? Seriously?!? No I don't mean anything above zero. I'm looking for a price that doesn't make me pay for unnecessary reproduction, distribution, promotion and other costs...

    Yes, there is the Itunes option

    If itunes offers a lossless format at no additional cost than we are getting closer... but Apple takes a 30% cut and since the pirates have shown it's possible to reproduce and distribute digital files for $0. Why should I have to pay anything to Apple?

    I would say that price isn't the issue here. It's "give me the music free or I am leaving, and I will take the music anyway, and give it to everyone just to piss you off some more too".

    really? you have the inside track on my thoughts do you?

    I'm quite happy to pay the artist. However, I am unwilling to overpay them.

    IMO, CDs priced above $10 are overpriced (unless they include extras) and CD quality (lossless) digital format albums above $5 are overpriced.

    I'm still not convinced those price points are reasonable but I'd be willing to pay them.

     

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      Weird Harold, Apr 9th, 2009 @ 6:15am

      Re:

      Apple takes a 30% cut and since the pirates have shown it's possible to reproduce and distribute digital files for $0. Why should I have to pay anything to Apple?

      This is your main mistake. Distribution doesn't cost $0 - and that is really key here. Distribution is in fact very expensive, just not quantified as a per item cost you can see, it's call your internet connection, your computer, and even the blank shiny discs you might buy to store the music on. It isn't a huge cost, but it isn't free.

      You also pay by seeing ads on your favorite torrent site,by the number of infected files you get (and I am sure you get a few), and so on. The only think iracy has proven is that with no acquisition costs for material, and with no bandwidth costs to distribute, and no costs to digitize (because people do it for free), and no desire to make profits, pay the artists, or anything like that, then yes,it can be done for free.

      Free distribution is like free tires - nice, but the car ain't free unless you steal it.

       

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    femtobeam, Apr 9th, 2009 @ 3:55am

    Three Strikes

    I agree with the position France has taken to try and protect the copyright of artists and their ability to make a living from their music. Copyright and IP rights are to protect the artist who signs agreements with others to "promote" and "produce" their art or music. As in all commerce, this is the most expensive part of finding customers. Copyright infringement means no money for neither the artist nor the distributors, disk duplicators, advertising medium or any other involved entity. The only ones who make money off of pirated work are the internet service providers, who are not providing free service to those who like "free" stuff. I think three strikes is more than fair for thieves. I hope the future is not one of parents telling their children, "Don't become a musician or an artist or a computer programmer. You will not be able to support yourself. Why don't you look at..."

     

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    Jason, Apr 9th, 2009 @ 6:33am

    Am I understanding this right

    Please tell me I read this wrong. In france they are going to kick you off the net if you download "unauthorized" music. How the hell can the enforce that. I see sooooooo many ways to get around it that it a waste of money. I am so happy that I live in america where some bulls&*t like that would never fly. I say we all (world wide) boycott U2 nobody "legally" buy or download there music. Show them and their manager that we the people are their boss and if they piss us off then we can truly "take their lively hood away"

     

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      Weird Harold, Apr 9th, 2009 @ 6:40am

      Re: Am I understanding this right

      Jason, for every "smart" person like you who could get around it, there are dozens (or possibly thousands) who can't barely get their copy of utorrent to start up right, and would never have a hope of stitching files together or anything like that. They are download in the open because they think it is okay, the internet has taught them that. Get a few of them warned, kicked off, whatever, and a significant amount of the public will stop downloading. Nobody is suggesting any sort of 3 strikes or whatever will stop piracy - but it moves the soft middle of people who do it because they think it's okay to stop because they find out it isn't okay.

      When file sharing crosses back over that tipping point, and becomes less widely accepted, then the problem is solved. you guys can pirate all the files you want quietly, and the rest of the population will pay for them so you can keep doing it.

       

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      vhuskey, Apr 12th, 2009 @ 5:21pm

      Re: Am I understanding this right

      ummm...Right! viva la revolution! All 1 of you.
      in the meantime u2 concerts are selling out almost instantly, 2.5 million tickets...so you have alot of work to do.
      u2 are risking their name to try to get some people to do the right thing. they are rich beyond belief! they are trying to protect the thousands who are losing their jobs because of stealing. trying to help countless other artists for their love of music creativity. u2 has provided multiple other bands get recorded and start out in the music buisiness, out of the kindness of their hearts! i don't see any other band in History who have gone out to help as they have.
      stealing is stealing.

       

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    rjk, Apr 9th, 2009 @ 8:44am

    This is your main mistake. Distribution doesn't cost $0 - and that is really key here. Distribution is in fact very expensive, just not quantified as a per item cost you can see, it's call your internet connection, your computer, and even the blank shiny discs you might buy to store the music on. It isn't a huge cost, but it isn't free.

    uh... my main mistake? What do my costs have to do with what it costs record companies/artists to distribute digital files? besides, my internet, computer and blank discs cost the same whether or I download files using Pirate Bay or iTunes or neither.

    The only thin[g] [p]iracy has proven is that with no acquisition costs for material, and with no bandwidth costs to distribute, and no costs to digitize (because people do it for free), and no desire to make profits, pay the artists, or anything like that, then yes,it can be done for free.

    ding! ding! ding! And if music can be reproduced and distributed for free... why should I have to pay reproduction and distribution? Just because the record companies don't want to take advantage of new technologies?

    As I said previously, I'm more than happy to pay the artist but I won't over pay.

     

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    Wa Yne, Apr 10th, 2009 @ 9:52am

    comment

    The music industry has made so much bad music then forced it down our
    throats, that it is no wonder that it really is in a state of hard times.
    Concert ticket prices - forget it. Support your local musician in your towns
    and see what other music is out there. In these times of NOT MUCH MONEY, when someone has to decide on either $40.00 or $200.00 between paying an electric bill, or the rent. Screw an evening of a live show. Of corse then someone is going to pirate music.

     

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    AJC, Apr 11th, 2009 @ 9:39am

    Techdirt is pro-piracy

    Upon what basis does your publication support unauthorized downloading of music? Do you understand the concept of intellectual property? Why do people expect music for free?

     

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    Paul, Apr 11th, 2009 @ 4:37pm

    Paul McGuinness

    This is the first U2 album I did not purchase thanks to the "Fat Cat" Paul McGuinness constant poor me comments on downloading U2 music....what business model is not working he is making more money now that ever before ! and I would love to ask him how he is getting on with the tax laws in Holland after he moved the business model over there from From to avoid paying hos taxes like every other "poor" person here !!!

     

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    vhuskey, Apr 12th, 2009 @ 4:42pm

    the writers of the article are idiotic as business men

    mcguiness is right! he's not doing this for his own benefit, don't you complainers get that? he's rich Already. if you Listened and understood what he said, you'd stop being jealous of u2 and see that thousands of livelyhoods are affected when music is stolen. quit bitching because you want to steal! i'm saying this to people who don't see that stealing livelyhoods is Wrong, so i don't expect jealous haters of what ever u2 does to sink in. so, come on haters, get your licks in on me.

     

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    vhuskey, Apr 12th, 2009 @ 4:59pm

    the writers of the article are idiotic as business men

    mcguiness is right! he's not doing this for his own benefit, don't you complainers get that? he's rich Already. if you Listened and understood what he said, you'd stop being jealous of u2 and see that thousands of livelyhoods are affected when music is stolen. quit bitching because you want to steal! i'm saying this to people who don't see that stealing livelyhoods is Wrong, so i don't expect jealous haters of what ever u2 does to sink in. so, come on haters, get your licks in on me.

     

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